Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Do Ya' Feel Lucky Punk?

Technology certainly makes life easier sometimes, but I'm a firm believer that there are times when a little less technology would help me more.  As a middle aged person, I hold my own in keeping up with the changes in technology, but it's becoming more and more of a struggle.  The other day while trying to regain the satellite TV signal that inexplicably dropped out when my back was turned, I found myself firing the remote at the TV in Dirty Harry style and shouting, "When I was young, we didn't have this problem!  We simply got up and turned the channel manually!"  And then I promptly wrestled with my Blackberry and made a note in it to go buy some Rockports because I was pretty sure that rant officially qualified me as an old fart.  Honestly, there is nothing that frustrates me more than trying to get the satellite TV to work.  When we moved into the new house, I'd thought I'd yank myself bald before I got all of the TV's in our house to work properly.  The tech support team at Dish Network and I were on a first name basis.  One more call to them and I would have been asking Ben how his mother was and if they has finally gotten any rain in his part of Texas.

Computers are another area that I struggle with.  As daddy says, I know just enough about them to be dangerous.  I am the I.T. person in our house, which should impress no one as it just means that I know more about the computer than Hubby.  Which isn't saying much because his internet perusing is limited to the desktop shortcuts of Craigslist Western Kentucky and the local jail website where he can check on who's been arrested.  Old parole officer habits die hard, I guess.  I can maintain our computer and keep it functioning fairly well.  I can even reconnect all the cords correctly on at least the third try on the rare occasion I have to unhook it.  We're currently on a roll with dying hard drives, by the way.  We've lost two in the past year.  See the bald spot on THIS side of my head?
The problem I have is with software.  I can load it.  I just can't always use it well.  It's hard when your computer skills are all self taught.  Keep in mind computers came into common use when I was in college, and the only people taking computer classes in high school were the girls who planned to seek a career as an administrative assistant.  As I planned to be the next Jessica Savitch and travel the world, I did not sign up for those classes, so everything I've learned about computers has been ON THE JOB TRAINING.  I was trying to put together a presentation two weeks ago that required some new PhotoShop skills.  When  a coworker asked what was taking so long, I explained that it's slow going when you have to stop every fifteen minutes and watch a tutorial on YouTube. 

I have to pick my way through every new software program I get and figure out by trial and error how to fix pictures, manipulate text and images and get them in the right format in the way people want them.  That joy comes in many forms.  There's the zip file.  Ack, I hate to zip.  I never get it right the first time.  Zip, unzip, zip.  Rinse, repeat until I finally remember how it's done.  PhotoShop comes with a myriad of frustrations.  The lasso tool, the adjustment layers and heaven help me, the vector masks and the transform selections.  Now, I have Adobe's In Design so I can make our own ads for various publications my company advertises in from time to time.  I've had that software for three weeks, and so far, I've figured out how to make a colored box.  That's it.  Just a box.  You want text in that box?  See me in November.
I'm no web designer either.  It's all I can do to keep this blog going.  You'll notice I don't update the look of it very often.  That's because I have to use widgets.  Widgets?  All my life I thought a widget was some imaginary factory product that people ranted about when something went wrong at work.  As in, "It's not like we're making widgets around here people!"   Come to find out it's now something that requires me to learn how to manipulate it.  Widget schmidget. 

Telephones have also gotten so complicated I can barely talk on them.  There are times when I lose my voicemail at work due to operator error.  This operator.  Not the telephone operator because SHE'S NOT THERE ANYMORE TO HELP YOU. 
Truth be told, I'm kind of scared to get an iPhone because I'm afraid I won't be able to figure it out.  Is there an app that teaches me how to use it?  Besides, I don't want deal with Suri.  I hear she can be a bit of a fritch sometimes.  I don't need anything else around here talking back to me.  Also, rumor has it she can't spell.

Years ago, when I worked in television, technology was always changing in that business, and the equipment we worked with changed all of the time, especially for the show directors.  One of the senior directors retired right before another round of new gear arrived, mostly because he didn't want to deal with that.  He said it wasn't because he couldn't learn something new, he just DIDN'T want to learn anything new anymore.  I'm starting to understand that more and more these days.  Don't get me wrong, I love learning new things.  I'd just like to be able to watch The Antiques Roadshow without calling tech support in Galveston and screaming, "Go ahead, Ben!  Make my day."          


Linda said...

Your blog today has me laughing to myself...I spent a good bit of time yesterday on the phone with my 81 year old mother, trying to instruct her in the method of attaching a file to an email. Oh My! I finally told her to forward it to me, let me print, sign, scan and send back to her so she could forward it on. Success...but not without a few more gray hairs!

Rink's Ramblings said...

I have seriously thought about going to one of the continuing education classes at one of our local school districts to become more computer savvy. I feel your pain.